Lean thinking applied to airports


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Two of our favorite subjects (airports and lean thinking) were combined in a blog post entitled, Saying Goodbye To Long Waits At The Airport. While not all long waits are solved, one of the key ones, being #23 for take-off while your plane waits on the tarmac, apparently is being solved with one of the simple Lean Thinking concepts … reducing batch sizes.

U.S. Airports have simply allowed airlines to use an ‘as ready’ approach to queing for take-off. That is, when you are ready, get in line. This promoted a get off the gate and get in line approach which wastes fuel and frustrates passengers. In contrast the Europeans use a “booking” system where actual take-off times are reserved. The FAA has gone to new software that allows:

Airlines to file flight plans with the Federal Aviation Administration indicating what time they want to take off. A metering program compiles requests, and takeoffs are scheduled in 15-minute blocks of time. Airplanes don’t leave the gate until their assigned time. And as a result, the conga line of 40 jets lined up at the end of a runway has been reduced to six to eight.

Lean Thinking at its best. Now if we can just work on some of the other issues airlines perpetrate.


Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mitchell Goozé
Mitchell Goozé is the president and founder of Customer Manufacturing Group. His broad scope of business experience ranges from operations management in established firms, to start-up and turn-around situations and mergers. A seasoned general manager, he has headed divisions of large corporations and been CEO of independent firms, always focusing the company strategy on the most important person in business . . . the customer.


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